ZGMC — Digital Marketing Panel

This Wednesday brought 5 practitioners to the 14th floor of the NVC along with Baruch’s own accomplished and engaging Amy Auerbach. Ben Cathers of Lightspeed, Heather Jackson of Conductor, Macy Tanking of Microsoft, Jon Tesser of New York Magazine and Matt Woosley of Hemispheric offered their opinions and anecdotes on the applications of social and digital marketing.

The panelists agreed that this niche of marketing is still in its infancy.  Widespread adoption has been lagging.  However, the benefits are hard to ignore.  Ben commented that while traditional marketing or even e-mail pushes end up unwanted in some inbox.  Social media pushes end up in a social inbox where the display is welcome and often invited.  Moreover, Heather commented on the prospect of interactivity with such a welcome display opens a whole new field to marketers.

Each panelist arrived at their present position from a host of avenues:  targeted job searches, right time and right place, recruiting and transitions within firms.  Heather recomended to prospects interested in this field that creating an on-line presence with social media is a must (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc).  She added that one should demonstrate a dynamic and interlinked process.  Sounds to this correspondent that you do more than talk to the talk.  Be sure to walk the walk.

Amy brought the discussion to the eight hundred pound gorilla lurking the shadows — risk.   Macy responded that few established brands want to have their displays alongside distasteful or contradictory content.  Ben added that the misapplication of social media can get much worse.  Witness the Nestle debacle with Facebook and Twitter.  Jon reminded the audience that social media is still a medium that needs to be managed like all communication formats.  The consensus of the panelists was that a half-hearted involvement in social media was the seed of many problems.

With regards to interactivity, Matt commented that gaming was the mind set to use for the future.  This rubric provides a great way to disseminate complex information over time.  This is part of a vision about which  Seth Prietbasch spoke of at TED this summer. John added that interactivity provides an excellent success metric.  Those who comment or respond are much more value customers than just eyeballs.

Here’s a question that Matt asked the audience. “How many of you sleep with your smartphone?”  You have to laugh don’t you, but it’s true!  What a dream for marketers.  And all those phones are linked to accounts (i.e. existing payment system.)  Keep an eye out for the rise of tablets and the mobile platform.

Of course, Amy was quick to point out that no discussion about marketing is complete without porn.  That got your attention!  You will just have to go to the next ZGMC event to find out more.

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